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What You Should Know About Sex Toys and How to Use Them Safely

Top sex toy myths debunked and what you need to know about using them safely.
These days you can’t walk into your neighborhood drugstore without noticing the womens’ pleasure aids. The aisles are loaded with different tools and aids to help women “relex” at home but many women still say they’re afraid to get there.
Patty Brisben is so passionate about a woman’s right to take control of her sexuality, that in 1983, with just $5,000 and a little extra space in her basement, she started Pure Romance, one of the leading direct sellers of intimacy aids.

There are a lot of rumors floating around about all of these pleasure products you see for sale in your nearest drug store but not enough facts. Are they unsafe for your vagina? Do they expire? Can you seriously hurt yourself? Brisben sets you straight.

ESSENCE: What would you tell women who are embarrassed to purchase or use pleasure toys?
Throw out all of the myths that good girls don’t buy toys. I’m here to tell you that all women have the right to own their sexuality! Empower yourself, educate yourself and give yourself permission to explore and have fun!
ESSENCE: What should you know before you shop for a pleasure toy?
BRISBEN: When purchasing a bedroom accessory, the first step is for you to decide the type of stimulation that you are looking for – is the product for clitoral stimulation, g-spot stimulation, etc.? Even once you’ve narrowed it down to type, there are still a ton of options out there, which can be both a blessing and a curse. Give yourself plenty of time to read through the product descriptions and don’t be afraid to play around with the product. They are called toys, after all! Have fun switching through the different settings and, if you’re able, actually apply the intensity on the tip to your nose or the earlobe to test the product. Most importantly though, remind yourself not to become overwhelmed and be proactive in asking for help. Remember, we all had to start somewhere.

ESSENCE: Are there certain types of pleasure products that should be totally avoided? Why or why not?
BRISBEN: When using pleasure products, you need to understand your boundaries and listen to your gut. The only products that should be avoided are those that make you feel uncomfortable, either emotionally or physically. Additionally, if you’re in a relationship, it’s important that both partners are at ease with products that are introduced into their sexual relationship. At the end of the day, make sure to respect one another’s boundaries, but don’t be afraid of having the important conversation of what your desires and limitations are.
ESSENCE: How do you clean sex toys properly?
BRISBEN: Cleaning toys properly is very important. Always use a toy cleaner that was specifically made to clean bedroom toys, and make sure to clean your toy before and after every use. Using toy cleaner ensures that the toy isn’t harboring bacteria and also increases the longevity of the actual product. It’s also important to store your bedroom toy in an anti-fungal bag.

ESSENCE: Why did you choose this industry?
BRISBEN: It’s been my life’s work to teach women how to give themselves permission to be empowered and educated about their sexuality. I believe that Pure Romance parties provide women a safe environment to learn about their bodies and better understand their sexual needs and desires. Hopefully, they can use this knowledge to take their relationships to the next level and feel more confident about their sexuality in and out of the bedroom.